Close To His Heart

27 Aug

Close to His Heart by author Leonora Pruner explores the depth and strength of true love in a marriage gone awry. The principle of forgiveness becomes a key element for working through a marital relationship damaged by past misunderstandings and hurtful events.

In this eighteenth-century romance, a young and naive Grace Carstares plans a midnight elopement with a handsome stableman with suspicious motives. Their plans are thwarted, however, when Grace discovers a mysterious stranger lying guard at her bedroom threshold. All is explained the next morning when, to her dismay, Grace learns her nighttime guardian is young Lord Buryhill, a suitor approved by her father who caught rumor of her misguided romance and decided to protect her from ruining her life.

Determined to marry this particular young woman, Lord Henry Buryhill comes to deeply love Grace and hopes to win her love in return. Yet buried beneath this determination is his own abandoned hope that he would meet a woman who might share his commitment to God.

Henry wins Grace’s heart as well as her hand in marriage. But Henry cannot overcome his nagging fears that Grace clings to her affection for the stableman. His distrust darkly clouds their wedding night and shatters their hopes for a joy-filled union. Unaware of the reasons driving her husband’s suspicions and jealousy, a devastated Grace withdraws from Henry, busying herself in gardening and taking solace in God’s love.

An ensuing pony-cart accident, through which Grace loses all memory of former things, presents both Grace and Henry the opportunity to either abandon their shattered marriage or begin anew. A guilt-ridden Henry is determined to win Grace’s heart once again, but Grace must decide whether to accept the courtship of a complete stranger or continue her life in the small community among the people who found her and nursed her back from a head injury. Will Henry’s determination, forgiveness, and tender care be sufficient to rebuild a foundation for their marriage?

Leonora Pruner was born in Dubuque, Iowa, but has lived most of her life in California. Writing has been an important activity since junior high. She graduated from Westmont College in 1953 and earned an MBA from Pepperdine University in 1981.

Fascination with a possible eighteenth-century English character led to five years of extensive research, which resulted in the 1981 and 1987 publication of two period novels. That time remains of great interest to the author, and she continues to use eighteenth-century England as a setting for her work.

Leonora married in 1953, and her family has expanded from two children to thirteen grandchildren and five great-grand-children.

She lived in the Republic of Maldives from 1987 to 1997, where she collected folklore and taught economics and computer science. While there she wrote the first drafts of this book.

Other books by Leonora Pruner include Love’s Secret Storm and Love’s Silent Gift. The title of her next novel is The Aerie of the Wolf.

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My Impressions:

Leonora Pruner’s newest novel, Close To His Heart, will appeal to fans of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer.  Although set in the Georgian period rather than Regency period, it examines the social customs and manners in much the same way as Austen and Heyer.  What sets it apart, though, is the faith journey of the major characters.  The themes of love, faithfulness and forgiveness are examined and acted out in a way that will be identifiable to the reader.  Things really are not that much different today as they were hundereds of years ago.

Close To His Heart, is of course, a love story.  And love never runs smoothly. The characters endure obstacles, misunderstandings and twists of fate.   In fact, just when you think the characters problems are finally resolved — another surprise awaits — them and the reader!

I very much enjoyed Pruner’s novel and hope for a sequel to continue the love story of two of the minor characters.  The only thing I found as a negative is the cover.  I don’t know if the  cover art was the author or publisher’s idea, but I think it could have been done much better.  It seems reminiscent of books published years ago.  With the many books available, it is important for the cover to grab the potential reader’s attention.  I have to say, I passed this book over several times before I actually read the synopsis. It was then I decided to give it a chance.  It’s true, you can’t judge a book by its cover — and Close To His Heart is much better than the cover suggests.

All in all, I recommend Close To His Heart to lovers of  historical romance.

(I received a copy of Close To His Heart from Pump Up Your Book in return for a review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

4 Responses to “Close To His Heart”

  1. ccgevry August 27, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Thanks for taking the time to review Leonora’s book. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I was kind of cool on the cover too. It’s so dark. I’m glad you gave it a chance. I hope your readers will too.

    Thanks again.


  2. Beverly August 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

    Hey there! Just hopping by! If you have a chance, stop by The Wormhole and check out my 300 follower giveaway! Happy reading – have a great weekend!


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